We have provided an illustrated FB2 version of this book.
Although the book's title Black Ivory denotes dealing in the slave trade it is not our heroes who are doing it. At the very first chapter there is a shipwreck, which leaves the son of the charterer of the sinking ship, and a seaman friend of his, alone on the east coast of Africa, where Arab and Portuguese slave traders were still carrying out their evil trade, despite the great efforts of patrolling British warships to limit it and free the unfortunates whom they found being carried away in the Arab dhows.
Our heroes encountered a slave trader almost at the very spot where they come ashore, and thereby managed to get to Zanzibar in a British warship that had captured the trader's dhow in which our friends had hitched a lift.
At Zanzibar they pick up some funds, and set forth on a journey into the interior. Here again they encounter the vile trade, but most of the story deals with other encounters of a more acceptable nature.
This book will open your eyes to what really went on. At the time of writing slave-dealing on the west coast of Africa was, due to the efforts of the British, almost extinct, but this was not the case on the east coast. Your reviewer found it very moving.
Makes a good audiobook, of about ten and a half hours duration.
Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825-1894), A Short Biography, with acknowledgements to Chambers Biographical Dictionary.
Scottish author of boys' books, born in Edinburgh, a nephew of James and John Ballantyne, the printers. Educated at The Edinburgh Academy, he joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1841, and worked as a clerk in the Red River Settlement in the backwoods of northern Canada until 1847, before returning to Edinburgh in 1848. He wrote his first stories on his experiences in Canada, with books such as The Young Fur Traders (1856). Coral Island (1858) is his most famous work.
After that he wrote over eighty books for boys, which were well researched, so that he gained a reputation which led to some of his books being written at the special request of the Post Office and the London Fire Brigade. He wrote marvellous books about the building of such lighthouses as the Eddystone and the Bell Rock. He also spent time aboard the Lightship in the Goodwin Sands, and was able to write a very informative novel about his experiences there. He produced about three books a year right up to the end of his life, but his earlier books are generally thought to be his best ones.
A PDF of scans and an HTML version of this book are provided. We also provide a plain TEXT version and full instructions for using this to make your own audiobook. To find these click on the PDF, HTML or TXT links on the left.
These transcriptions of books by various nineteenth century authors of instructive books for teenagers, were made during the period 1997 to the present day by Athelstane e-Books. Most of the books are concerned with the sea, but in any case all will give a good idea of life in the nineteenth century, and sometimes earlier than that. This of course includes attitudes prevalent at the time, but frowned upon nowadays.
We used a Hewlett-Packard scanner, a Plustek OpticBook 3600 scanner or a Nikkon Coolpix 5700 camera to scan the pages. We then made a pdf which we used to assist with editing the OCRed text.
To make a text version we used TextBridge Pro 98 or ABBYY Finereader 7 or 8 to produce a first draft of the text, and Athelstane software to find misreads and improve the text. We proof-read the chapters, and then made a CD with the book read aloud by either Fonix ISpeak or TextAloud MP3. The last step enables us to hear and correct most of the errors that may have been missed by the other steps, as well as entertaining us during the work of transcription.
The resulting text can be read either here at the Internet Archive or at www.athelstane.co.uk